Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 22, 2012

Radio station worker slain; authorities search for gunman

VALDOSTA — Authorities are searching for the gunman in a fatal shooting at a Valdosta radio station Friday night.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department, crime scene techs and the Georgia State Patrol were out in force around midnight at 2973 U.S. 84 West, which is a combined facility for radio stations WGOV, WAAC and WLYX.

The station building was closed for the night with station operations running on automation, said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine, who was on the scene.

The 911 center received a call at 11:53 p.m. from the victim himself, said Deputy Coroner Walter Wacter.

The victim was reportedly shot once in the head and twice in the torso.

“He called 911 himself and gave a description of the shooter,” Wacter said.

The victim described the shooter as a white male wearing a white skull cap or face mask, Prine said.

The shooting victim was taken by ambulance to South Georgia Medical Center, where he was declared dead at 12:53 a.m., Wacter said.

The shooting victim was Stephon Edgerton, a.k.a. Juan Gatti, an on-air personality at WGOV.

The man had been shot three times and was found laying face down outside the station building, Prine said.

Sheriff’s department K9 dogs were in action in the fields surrounding the station past midnight; the dogs tracked the assailant as far as a nearby power line, the sheriff said.

Across U.S. 84, investigators could see where a car had pulled off about three-quarters of a mile from the radio station, he said.

“We think (the shooter) got in a car and headed east,” Prine said.

Investigators found a soda can, a small bag of chips, and “what appeared to be a small amount of drugs” outside the station, the sheriff said.

The body is being sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Macon Monday, Wacter said.

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